After a lengthy push against federal safety investigators to avoid it, General Motors is spending $1.2 billion to recall 5.9 million U.S. vehicles equipped with Takata airbag inflators that could potentially explode.
GM sought to avoid the costly recall, petitioned the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, contending they were not a danger to occupants in vehicles equipped with the devices. These are not the same airbag systems that led to a two dozen fatalities and hundreds of injuries.
The auto company claimed that this series of inflators did not present a danger like other Takata inflators have demonstrated in the past. In fact, despite announcing it would recall vehicles with them, GM maintained it still believed they were not dangerous.
“The safety and trust of those who drive our vehicles is at the forefront of everything we do at General Motors,” the company said in a statement.
“Although we believe a recall of these vehicles is not warranted based on the factual and scientific record, NHTSA has directed that we replace the airbag inflators in the vehicles in question. Based on data generated through independent scientific evaluation conducted over several years, we disagree with NHTSA’s position. However, we will abide by NHTSA’s decision and begin taking the necessary steps.”
The safety agency disagreed saying the inflators “are at risk of the same type of explosion after long-term exposure to high heat and humidity as other recalled Takata inflators.” This type of inflator is different than the aforementioned version that caused the recall of 63 million inflators in the U.S. and more than 100 million globally by 19 automakers, Reuters noted.
The recall covers 2007-2014 model-year trucks and SUVs: Cadillac Escalade, Chevrolet Silverado, Chevrolet Suburban, Chevrolet Tahoe, GMC Sierra and GMC Yukon vehicles built during the eight-year period.
GM has been arguing with NHTSA since 2016 about whether or not the vehicles needed to be recalled. The company petitioned the agency to eliminate it after it recalled 800,000 vehicles, but tests showed the inflators, which are different than the more dangerous Takata models, didn’t present a danger.
“NHTSA concluded that the GM inflators in question are at risk of the same type of explosion after long-term exposure to high heat and humidity as other recalled Takata inflators,” said the agency.
The recalls will be done free of charge and owners will be notified if they’re vehicle falls within the scope of the action.